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EXCLUSIVE: IDS on British jobs

17 August 2011

1:00 PM

17 August 2011

1:00 PM

Last week, George Osborne boasted that Britain has the second-fastest job creation in the G7. In tomorrow’s Spectator, we disclose official figures showing that 154 per cent of the
employment increase can be accounted for by foreign-born workers. We on Coffee House have often questioned Labour’s record: 99.9 per cent of the rise in employment was accounted for by foreign-born
workers. The graphs for the Labour years and the coalition year are below:
 

 
The idea of 154 per cent is strange, so I will reproduce the raw figures below:
 

 
Now, no one outside Westminster expects the UK labour market to change the day a new government is elected, but what matters is that the problem still exists. Reforms have been promised, and Chris
Grayling has made superb progress with the Work Programme. But the problem persists. Most importantly, the overall jobs figure can be illusory. What good is economic growth if it doesn’t shorten
British dole queues?

I have also interviewed Iain Duncan Smith for tomorrow’s magazine, and he said the problem was that successive governments, Conservative and Labour, treated welfare reform as an optional extra. He
says:


"I always argued that the last Conservative government freed up the markets, but what was missing was the next bit. Getting society in Britain ready to meet that change. We never did. We ended
up with a sort of mid-20th century society, many locked away in welfarism, and a 21st century economy. We see now that one cannot meet the results of the other. It’s not optional. If anything tells
you that it’s not optional, look at the 2.5 million jobs created under Labour out of which at least 60 per cent went to foreign nationals." Since Cameron took power, I say, the figure is even
higher under the coalition. IDS said, "It’s getting worse. And it’s getting worse because we face the problem of having to reform a group that’s progressively less able to do the work. That’s
why I believe we’re in the last chance saloon. Last week [the riots] was a wake-up call for us. But we should thank our lucky stars that we had one."

I will post the full IDS interview later.
 
PS: This blog was updated at 2.45pm to include new information we received (and just managed to put in the leader column of the magazine). The original series of figures that were
published today by the ONS (click here) are distorted by including pensioners returning to work. This is a separate
phenomenon. The above figures are for working-age population only, kindly provided to us on request from the ONS Labour Force Survey. The definitions of “foreign born” etc are set
by Eurostat.

PPS: This blog only looks at foreign-born. I’ll post the figure for foreign nationals separately, but suffice to say they accounted for almost all of the net employment rise in the
first 12 months of Cameron.


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